The postgraduate job market is still a tough one.
But it is starting to look a lot less competitive than it did a few years ago, according to a new study.
Postgraduate graduates are expected to earn an average of $28,000 a year, according the Postgraduate Salary Outlook, which is published on a quarterly basis by the Australian Institute of Employment Research (AIFR).
This compares with a peak of $39,000 in 2010.
That is despite the fact the job market has become less competitive in recent years, with graduates earning $30,000 less than their peers, the AIFR said in a report released on Tuesday.
The median earnings for a postgraduate graduate is $29,400, according AIFr, which calculates median salary based on the median annual salary of all people who have completed at least a four-year degree.
That compares with $34,000 for a bachelor’s degree and $39:40 for a master’s degree.
The research comes as employers are increasingly targeting graduates, with the number of jobs available increasing by an average 3.4 per cent per year, from 8,742 in the year to March 2017 to 10,834 in the 12 months to March 2018.
But employers still struggle to attract and retain postgraduates, with more than one in three jobs in Australia requiring at least some degree, according a 2017 report from the Commonwealth Bank.
Postgraduate job postings are up 12 per cent year on year from 2016 to 2017, according with many of these postings being held by smaller companies with a lower profile than those with larger businesses.
The postgraduate workforce has also become a key part of the economy, with unemployment at a record low of 5.9 per cent in the September quarter.
But postgraduation has not always been a promising experience for young Australians.
In a recent report, the University of Sydney Graduate Centre found that nearly three-quarters of postgraduate students do not find a job after graduation, while nearly one in five graduates do not complete a full year of study.
The most common reasons given for not completing a degree include a lack of motivation, lack of interest, difficulty finding employment, lack or difficulty managing debt and lack of support from family or friends.
It said students had a higher chance of missing out on the job opportunities they sought in the workplace.
While more than two-thirds of postgraduate students were employed full-time, a third of students were unemployed.
The report found that students who have a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree are more likely to be employed in higher paying jobs, and that graduates who are unemployed are more often employed in entry-level jobs.